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6 Cheap But Fun Family Ideas

January 29, 2013 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: About the Family, Children, Healthy Living, Just for Fun No Comments →

With the economy suffering, and most people finding it harder than ever to make ends meet, keeping the kids entertained isn’t always easy. Whether your kids are young or well into their teens, they’ll often turn to you for ways to be entertained. If you’re running out of ideas, here are 6 cheap but fun ideas to keep you going.

Family Games: Games are some of the best sources of fun for the whole family. Board games are an excellent example. If you’ve got any board games lying around, get them out and give them a whirl. Games like these encourage interaction between family members and help with bonding, which we often find ourselves doing too little of these days.

Apart from board games, other alternatives include card games (cards are readily available and cheap to get hold of. If you don’t know any good card games, it’s also easy to find the rules for some on the internet) and activities like charades. Family games are great for children of all ages – even teenagers will often take part (with a bit of resistance to begin with!)

Build Camps: For younger kids, something fun to do is building indoor camps. Get some clothes pegs, some strings, and some bed sheets and you can help your kids build their own bedroom camp. Once built, kids will often play in these for hours. Many kids also love to sleep over in their own home-built camp.

Arts And Crafts: This is a classic, but it’s a great option because arts and crafts can be really cheap. Why not go on a walk with your kids and get them to collect interesting sticks, stones, shells, feathers etc. Once home, you can get them to string them together to form hanging ornaments, or use them to decorate home-made picture frames and so on.

Playing Ball: Another classic, ball games are great when the weather is good. Balls are cheap, and generally provide a lot of entertainment, as well as giving kids (including teenagers) a chance to blow off steam, use up energy and get some exercise all at once.

Invite Friends Round: Let your kids invite a few friends over for the day. It’s true that sometimes a group of kids can end up causing a riot, but generally things don’t get out of hand and your kids will always have a lot of fun with a few friends around. The more friends there are, the more easily they come up with their own (usually free) entertainment. It’s a winning solution. And, if you really want to make the most of the opportunity, why not let your kids plan a feast and have their friends each bring something along to eat?

Get Cooking: Some kids will be more resilient to this idea than others, but many kids enjoy cooking once they get started. So why not try and teach your kids a bit about cooking? Make it fun for them in the process and they’ll love it. Pizzas are a great option as kids can decorate them any way they wish with the ingredients you’re using.

8 Healthy Habits

December 06, 2012 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Children, Healthy Living No Comments →

Being sick is not pleasant. The headache, the cough, the chills and sneezing are tiresome and you can’t wait to get better. Well, if you’re careful to follow these habits to help keep you healthy, you may not need to get sick again. Check out these habits and see which ones you need to add so you don’t get sick this cold and flu season.

1  One of the easiest ways to stay healthy is to wash your hands often. When you’re out and about during the fall and winter, when germs seem to flourish, it isn’t difficult to pick up germs by touching door knobs, telephones and grocery carts. The trick is to keep those germs from moving from your hands to your nose, mouth or eyes, which are the typical areas where they invade your body.

Washing your hands often allows you to kill or remove the germs before they make you sick. If you can’t actually make it to a sink to wash your hands, be sure to keep hand sanitizer with you so you can kill germs that way.

2.  Drink plenty of fluids. Not only is staying hydrated essential for keeping your body working properly, it also helps to flush fats from your system.

3.  Covering your mouth when you cough and sneeze is another way to stay healthier. And, if you see people who aren’t following this rule, be sure to recommend that they start. Either cough into your elbow or sneeze into a tissue which keeps germs from getting onto your hands and spreading it to others.

4. Get plenty of rest during the months where illnesses prevail. Being overly active or burning the candle at both ends means your body’s defenses are weakened. A weakened immune system leaves you wide open for getting sick. Getting enough sleep helps you stay focused, as well, so you’re better able to protect yourself.  Here are some helpful sleep tips.

5. Stay active even in the cooler months. Even though it’s easy to snuggle under the covers and stay out of the cold, being active is a very good habit to keep healthy. Not only does physical activity help you burn calories and increase energy, it is also great for helping with mental health.

6. If possible, get a bit of sunshine each day. Sunlight is important for the production of vitamin D in your body. It is also vital for helping to fight depression and seasonal affective disorder that can have an effect on so many during the months when the days are shorter.

7. Maintain a healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables as much as possible. If you can’t find fruits and vegetables in season, buy frozen ones instead. These will have more of the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients necessary for good health.

8. If your diet is lacking in the nutrients your body needs, add a vitamin and mineral supplement. Supplements are a great way to get the nutrients you need when your diet isn’t the best it could be. It would be a good idea to speak with your doctor or a dietician to find the best supplements for your situation.

Obviously these are not the only habits you’ll want to follow that help to keep you healthy, but they’re a good place to start. Discuss these tips with your doctor, as well as how to cut back on processed foods, alcohol and giving up smoking if those things are a problem for you. Once you take these and other steps to get healthy, you’ll find that you’ll also stay healthy.

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How To Meal Plan With Coupons

November 06, 2012 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: About the Family, Healthy Living, Organization, organizing No Comments →

Meal planning takes much of the guesswork out of cooking. It ensures you know what you’re going to make each day. It also helps you save a bit of money because you’re going to the supermarket with a list. Just buy what’s on the list, nothing else, and you’ll save money. But there’s another way you can save money with meal planning, and that’s by integrating it with couponing.

Step #1 Gather Your Weekly Supermarket Flyers

The first step is to sit down with the weekly sales flyers. This is where you’ll learn that chicken breasts are on sale and blueberries are a buck a pint. Base your initial meal planning on the flyers, because the majority of your meals will be from the produce section and there generally aren’t too many coupons for produce.

Inevitably, once you have an outline for your meals that week, you’ll need to also add some staples to your list. These may be things like yogurt, cereal, and bacon for breakfast on Sunday, crackers for the kids’ lunches and so on. It’s time for the second step.

Step #2 Scour Coupons

Now it’s time to tap into all of your coupon resources. These may be in your newspaper supplements, in your mail box and in magazines. You can also find downloadable and printable coupons online. It’s a great money-saving resource.

Clip or download only the coupons that match items on your list. You’ll ideally find coupons to cover just about every staple on your list and you may find some produce coupons too. Produce coupons are usually for bags of vegetables or salads. Sometimes you can find coupons for eggs and milk too. Clip these!

It’s also a great idea to clip any coupons that you think you might use next time. You can then work next week’s grocery list around the flyers and the coupons you already have. Additionally, don’t forget to clip coupons for household products like paper towels. Sometimes it just makes sense to stock up.

Step #3 Go Shopping

Head to the store and shop from your list. In a perfect world every item on your list will either be on sale or have a coupon, or both. Track your savings. Also track how your weekly meal planning went. Did you have to run to the store mid-week for anything? Make adjustments to your meal planning routine to prevent this from occurring.

Meal planning is a super way to save money and to reduce stress. Add in a smart couponing strategy, and grocery shopping becomes an efficient and budget friendly process.  Check out  Meal Planning Central for a free meal planning report.

To find out how to get organized and put these strategies to use right away, visit: The Definitive Guide to Home Organization for Busy People today and get your life and home organized and clutter free forever!

Health Screening Tests for Women

September 29, 2012 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Healthy Living No Comments →

There are many recommended health screening tests for women avaialble for all women.  It is important that you talk to your doctor about these health screening tests for women and schedule your screening accordingly.

(ARA) – Every woman should make time for healthy habits such as getting plenty of exercise, eating healthy, and finding a comfortable balance between work and life.  In addition, all women should schedule routine health screenings that help detect a variety of diseases in their early stages. When it comes to staying healthy, a proactive approach is best. Which important health screenings have you had recently?

Mammograms

Do you know that a mammogram can detect a potential breast abnormality several years before physical symptoms develop? The American Cancer Society recommends that women get a mammogram every year beginning at the age of 40. Women who have a high risk for breast cancer (i.e. have personal or family history of breast cancer, dense breast tissue or previous suspicious mammograms) should talk to their physician about the screening program that makes the most sense for them, no matter what their age.

Most insurance companies let you pick your mammography provider, so it’s important for you to make sure the facility you choose uses the best technology available. New 3D mammograms provide a highly detailed look through multiple layers of breast tissue. More accurate than traditional 2D mammograms, 3D images like the ones provided by the Selenia Dimensions mammography system, manufactured by Hologic, Inc., give clinicians a new level of clarity to help them detect early, subtle signs of cancer.

Heart health screenings

Getting your blood pressure and cholesterol screened are two important steps for heart health. A blood pressure screening can determine whether you have hypertension, and lets you begin a treatment program to bring it under control. Starting at age 18, every woman needs to have her blood pressure checked at least once every two years. Screening and addressing high cholesterol concerns reduces your risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Women should have their cholesterol checked at least once every five years starting at about age 20. These two screenings can take place during a physical with your doctor or at your annual women’s wellness visit. Talk to your physician to determine whether more frequent screenings may be advisable, based on your personal or family health history.

Reproductive health screenings

Getting a Pap test (also known as a Pap smear) and an HPV (human papilloma virus) test, along with a pelvic exam is an important part of women’s reproductive health. These tests help to find pre-cancerous conditions before they can turn into cervical cancer. Current guidelines from the American Cancer Society recommend that women between the ages of 21 and 29 have a pelvic exam and Pap smear every three years. Women between the ages of 30 and 65 should have a pelvic exam, a Pap smear and an HPV test every five years. Alternatively, some doctors may also recommend that women have just a Pap test and pelvic exam every three years. Women over the age of 65 should discuss the need for continued screening with their doctor. Also, women with certain risk factors may want to talk to their doctor about whether more frequent screenings should be done. You may also want to talk to your doctor about the need to be screened for sexually transmitted diseases.

Bone density tests

Bone loss can increase for women after menopause, making osteoporosis a major health concern. In the past, osteoporosis could only be detected after you broke a bone. Today, bone density screenings are available to help monitor bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends bone mineral density testing for postmenopausal women and men aged 50 through 70, or when there is a risk factor, such as having a slender frame, family history or a low trauma fractured bone. During a typical bone density test, a special X-ray machine measures the amount of bone minerals, like calcium, located in a bone sample such as in the forearm, hip or spine.

Colon cancer screenings

Although your doctor may recommend an earlier screening, most women should receive a colonoscopy screening exam at the age of 50. This test helps to find colon and rectal cancer as early as possible, giving you a better chance for a successful treatment. Many women are apprehensive about this screening, but asking questions and having your physician explain the process thoroughly will help you feel prepared. Remember, if you are low-risk and nothing is found on your initial screening, colonoscopies are typically performed only once every 10 years.

Living a long healthy life is what any woman wants for herself and her family. By getting these important health screening tests for women done on a regular basis, you’ll help ensure a future of many healthy tomorrows.

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Depression – A Serious Illness

September 25, 2012 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Healthy Living No Comments →

Depression: not a character flaw but a real illness

(ARA) – A broken leg means a trip to the emergency room. Chronic back pain leads to a battery of tests and time off work. Even a virus will get you some words of sympathy. But if you say you have depression, there’s a good chance you’ll get a quizzical look and dumb silence.

Depression is a serious illness affecting one in 10 Americans. And while the medical establishment has long known how serious depression can be, it still remains something of a mystery to many people.

Often, the advice to someone who admits to a friend that they have depression is “it’ll pass” or “shake it off.” Because there are no bandages or crutches involved, there’s a tendency for friends, colleagues and even family to mistake clinical depression as simply a case of the “blues.” While studies vary somewhat on the exact percentages, it is generally believed that about 50 percent of Americans see depression as a personal weakness and a similar percentage of people suffering from depression don’t seek treatment.

“Being a mental health care professional, these statistics are absolutely alarming,” says Dr. Douglas G. Jacobs, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the founder of Screening for Mental Health, Inc. “We have to bridge this understanding gap and the only way is through education – in schools, in the mainstream media, through the work of nonprofits, in fact by any means necessary.”

One can observe the “understanding gap” in everyday life. The word “depression” is often used to describe simply “feeling down” – the bad days or weeks that soon pass. But when those feelings last two weeks or more, they could be signs of actual depression (formally called major depressive disorder or clinical depression).

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of depression may include the following:

* Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions

* Fatigue and decreased energy

* Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness

* Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism

* Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness or excessive sleeping

* Irritability, restlessness

* Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex

* Overeating or appetite loss

* Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment

* Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” feelings

* Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

Looking at the list, it’s not hard to see how someone suffering with depression could conceivably “explain away” their depression. But this situation is gradually changing.

One important stride that’s been made is in the area of screenings for depression. Put simply, a screening is a questionnaire that gives the participant a clearer idea of whether or not they may have symptoms of depression and should seek clinical help. They are not meant to be diagnostic, but at the same time they are an anonymous, “low exposure” first step. And they are, intrinsically, educational.

If you, or someone you know, may be suffering from depression, you can visit www.helpyourselfhelpothers.org to take a screening. It is free, anonymous and available 24/7.

Another step along the education road is National Depression Screening Day, which occurs on the Thursday of the first full week of each October. The screenings are held on college campuses, in high schools, community halls and other public venues.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger because of thoughts of suicide, call 911 immediately. If there is no immediate danger but rather a need to talk to someone, call the national suicide prevention line at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255).

Apple Cider Vinegar Home Remedies

September 11, 2012 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Healthy Living No Comments →

Clearly medicine has many advantages, but there are times when it just doesn’t seem to have the answers. When it gets to that point, there’s no reason not to give some traditional home remedies a try – as long as you’re sure they won’t be harmful.  Many people use apple cider vinegar home remedies to cure many ailments.

While the professional medicine jury is still out on apple cider vinegar’s effectiveness as a treatment, cultures throughout history have been using it in one form or another to aid various ills, and this is still true today.  There are many apple cider vinegar home remedies out there and below are just a few of the most common ones.

Here are a few common apple cider vinegar home remedies that might just help you where professional medicine hasn’t been able to.

Killing Candida: Candida is a bacteria found in everyone’s gut. Sometimes it can grow out of control and start to cause problems. This can include yeast infections and fatigue. Drinking diluted apple cider vinegar is believed to kill off candida, helping to restore the natural balance of bacteria in the gut and cure yeast infections.

Heals Eczema: A common complaint, especially these days, eczema can be caused by a variety of things. While in its milder forms it tends to do little more than cause slight dryness and itchy skin, when more severe the skin can crack and become infected, and the skin can blister. On of the best apple cider vinegar home remedies It is thought that a combination of drinking diluted apple cider vinegar and applying diluted apple cider vinegar topically to the affected area of skin twice daily can help get rid of eczema.

Restore Body’s pH Balance: The pH balance of the body is a measure of its acidity level. Outside of the correct range of pH levels, the body becomes inadequate at fighting disease, making us more vulnerable to illness. Drinking diluted apple cider vinegar a couple of times daily is thought to help restore the pH balance of the body. This allows the body to defend itself properly against illness.

Reduces Cholesterol: Cholesterol is a natural substance that builds up in our bodies over time. Some things make the build-up faster, such as poor diet. This can lead to heart disease, and other life-threatening conditions. Many people believe that drinking diluted apple cider vinegar regularly can help to reduce the cholesterol level in our bodies. In the long-term, this helps maintain good general health.

Clear Acne: Apple cider vinegar is often thought to help in clearing acne. This is done by drinking diluted apple cider vinegar on a daily basis, and applying a diluted apple cider vinegar substance to the affected areas of skin.

Next time you find yourself suffering with any of these problems, why not give  of the above apple cider vinegar home remedies a try.   If it doesn’t work, you’ll only lose a few dollars, and if it does then you’ll be over the moon!

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5 Common Depression Symptoms

September 10, 2012 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Healthy Living, Stress Management No Comments →

Depression is a pervasive illness that can affect the sufferer’s entire life. If you’re suffering from depression, you may find that it’s difficult to take care of your family, go to work, or enjoy your friends or hobbies. There is treatment available for depression, but the first thing that a doctor will need is a list of the symptoms that you’re experiencing. This article will discuss the most common symptoms of depression, and will help you to recognize them in yourself or a loved one.

Fatigue

Those experiencing depression may feel lethargic or fatigued on a regular basis, even after getting a full night’s sleep. You may find that you simply don’t have the energy to take care of your housework, do a good job at work, or go out with your friends. If you’re feeling like living life simply takes too much energy, treatment for depression may help.

Feelings of Sadness or Hopelessness

You may find yourself crying regularly or feeling sad about life. Things may seem bleak and hopeless, and it may be difficult to feel happiness. It’s common for people experiencing depression to lose interest in activities they once enjoyed, and to feel that life in general is overwhelming.

Concentration Difficulties

People with depression may have trouble remembering small details. They may have difficulty concentrating or trouble making decisions. It may be difficult to accomplish tasks at work, decide what to do during the day, or determine how to do previously enjoyable activities. This can lead to a sense of hopelessness, as you struggle to complete tasks that were easily accomplished in the past.

Physical Symptoms

Recently, depression has been linked to numerous physical symptoms, as well. You may find that you have an increase in body aches and pains when you’re depressed, or that you get frequent headaches. Your doctor may not be able to tie these symptoms to a physiological cause and determine that they are intrinsically tied to your depression diagnosis.

Irritability and Anxiety

Depression can also cause you to be irritable. You may be annoyed by simple things in life that you’re able to brush off easily when you’re not depressed. You may startle at loud noises, avoid your children, or suddenly dislike leaving the house because other drivers annoy you. Depression often occurs at the same time as anxiety, and many patients find that they are more anxious during periods of depression. Your doctor may be able to recommend a medication to treat both the anxiety and depression, so be sure to clearly describe these symptoms at your initial appointment.

Left untreated, depression can lead to job loss, family difficulties, self harm, and even suicide. For this reason, it’s very important that you see a doctor if you’re experiencing the symptoms listed above. Depression doesn’t usually go away on its own, but your doctor may be able to help. Depression is typically treated with medication, therapy, or a combination of the two. After a few visits to your doctor, he or she can recommend the best course of action to treat your individual symptoms, so that you can get back to enjoying life again.

If you’re ready to make a change and would like to work with a coach – why not grab our free 20 minute coaching consultation or simply sign up now one of our affordable coaching packages and allow me to help you gain more balance

Healthy Fruits For Weight Loss

September 10, 2012 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Healthy Living No Comments →

Are you trying to find the best healthy fruits for weight loss? It’s amazing when you think about it, but eating fruits is really an essential part of any weight loss plan. Fruit will clean out your system, give you nourishment, and help you to look and feel younger all at the same time. Not only does it have all of these benefits, but fruit just plain tastes good. Today you will learn the best healthy fruits for weight loss and how they can transform your life.

Have you ever heard the phrase an apple a day keeps the doctor away? Well as it turns out, this is very true. Apples are nutrient packed and they offer great support for the immune system. But most people already know that. What people don’t always realize is that apples are also great for weight loss because they are loaded with fiber. But to take advantage of that high fiber content you want to eat your apples raw. Remember, the key to using the best fruits to eat for weight loss is to keep everything in its natural state, that way you will really benefit from all of the nutrients that the fruit has to offer.

Berries are also at the top of the chart as one of the best healthy fruits for weight loss. Berries are not only delicious, but they are also packed with antioxidants. Eating berries will help you to fight off the free radicals that cause skin conditions, illness, and even cancer. All berries will promote healthy weight loss, but none seem to be as effective as goji berries. These delicious tiny berries don’t just help you to lose weight, they also help to strengthen the adrenal glands and the thyroid glands – both of which need to be healthy for you to maximize your weight loss.

The avocado is another great fruit for weight loss. Avocadoes are filled with good fats. These fats help to coat the stomach so that the other foods that you eat can be easily digested. But avocadoes are not just great for weight loss, they also have the added bonus of being a popular anti-aging food. Adding avocado to your regular diet will make your skin and eyes glow along with helping you to lose weight.

These are the three best healthy fruits for weight loss and these fruits can easily be added to any of your daily meals or they can be a delicious treat to eat on their own. For instance, you could add berries to your morning cereal or you could add chopped apples to your lunchtime salad. It is not only easy to incorporate these foods into your everyday meals, but they taste good too.

For more information on healthy fruits for weight loss, Visit Here

In order for you to really see weight loss success, you will want to incorporate other weight loss foods into your everyday routine.  When you combine the best fruits to eat for weight loss with things like green beans, quinoa, lentils, and green leafy vegetables you will lose weight faster than you ever thought possible.

 

5 Fast Weight Loss Tips

September 05, 2012 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: About the Family, Goals, Healthy Living No Comments →

Are you looking for fast weight loss tips? We all want to look and feel better and with all of those plans that you have coming up it is more important than ever that you look the best that you possibly can. It doesn’t matter if you are planning for a wedding, you have just had a baby, or you are trying to reinvent your entire life, here you will find five fast weight loss tips to get you started.

One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to make sure that your body has enough water.  When your body lacks water, it will affect the way that you eat, the energy that you have, and your overall weight. The first thing you should do every morning is drink a bottle of water with a little bit of lemon. This is one of the best weight loss tips that you will find. Just a simple bottle of water with lemon first thing in the morning will support your body’s natural detoxification process and it will help to flush your system before you start your day of eating.

If you are looking for fast weight loss tips, it is essential that you understand the power of doing cardio workouts. These workouts don’t have to be hard, just a simple brisk walk in the morning will be enough to raise your heart rate and get your blood pumping. When this happens, you will discover that you have more energy and more mental clarity. As you start to lose weight, try to add two more brisk 10 minute walks to your day. For instance, you could walk in the morning, at lunch, and after dinner. Out of any weight loss tips that you find, this one will give you better results than you could have ever dreamed of.

You also want to remember to plan everything. When people are looking for weight loss tips to help them lose weight, sometimes they get so focused on the end result that they forget about the steps they need to take to get there. The result is that they never reach their weight loss goals and they walk away feeling frustrated. Don’t let this happen to you. You should be planning your meals, when you are going to make them, and what you are going to eat at certain times. In addition, you also need to plan your exercise routine, and which weight loss tips you want to try that week. If you don’t have a plan for these things, you are setting yourself up for failure.

The best thing that you can do when you are trying to lose weight is to keep a journal for everything. A journal is the best way to know if your weight loss tips are working and if you are succeeding in your weight loss goals. In addition, a journal will let you know which foods you like and which foods you do not care for. Over time, you will be able to look at your journal and see just how far you have come.

None of these weight loss tips will help you though If you don’t reward yourself. You need to make sure that you reward yourself often. Obviously, rewarding yourself with unhealthy food is not going to help you reach your overall weight loss goals. But if you reward yourself with things like new clothes, a new gadget, or a trip you will find that you are more inspired to keep going. The more weight you lose, the bigger your reward. For instance, when you lose 5 pounds, you get a new book, when you lose 15 pounds, you get a new outfit, and when you lose 50 pounds, you get to go on vacation. Make sure that your rewards increase over time and make sure that you reward yourself as much as you possibly can.

Remember, weight loss tips are great, but changing your lifestyle is hard. When you are used to living a certain way, making the choice to live in a different way is a struggle. As long as you make these simple changes and reward yourself often you will not only change your body, you will change your life.

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Vitamins For Every Life Stage

September 03, 2012 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Healthy Living No Comments →

(ARA) – It was 100 years ago, in 1912, when Polish-American scientist Casimir Funk identified the first vitamin. Now, on the 100th anniversary of the discovery of vitamins, men and women still do not get recommended daily intake levels of vitamins. According to a paper published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, only 1 percent of the population meets minimum standards of a balanced diet.

Age matters when it comes to vitamins. All vitamins are essential – meaning our bodies can’t make them, so they must be obtained from the diet. Throughout life, we all need the right mix of the 13 essential vitamins, but some are more important than others when it comes to different life stages.

“With a century of vitamin knowledge upon us, it’s a good reminder to stay up to date on the latest vitamin recommendations,” says Elizabeth Somer, registered dietitian and author of “Eat Your Way to Sexy” (Harlequin, 2012). “New vitamin research findings are continuously being uncovered around the needs of men and women during unique times in their lives.”

A quick stroll through life’s stages reveals:

20s: Folic acid is important for women in their 20s - a prime childbearing age – because this B vitamin is essential in preventing birth defects like spina bifida in infants. Women need at least 400mcg per day, but often don’t get enough. By the time a pregnancy test comes back positive and women ponder taking a supplement, it could be too late.

30s: Antioxidant vitamins, including C and E are important for men and women in their 30s because these vitamins help protect against the development of cataracts and macular degeneration. Adults with high levels of these antioxidants are at a low risk of vision loss later in life.

40s and beyond: Vitamins D and B12 are important in the 40s and well after. As we get older, we are less efficient at making vitamin D and we may be susceptible to drops in the levels of vitamin absorption. Vitamin B12 deficiencies are typically due to insufficient diet and absorption challenges.

Somer shares tips to help you get more of the essentials into your daily diet.

Tip 1: Survey what you’re eating. Use a food journal to see what you need to add or remove from your diet. Make a weekly food schedule to help you meet nutritional requirements. Gain an understanding of the vitamins found in different foods – one helpful resource is the 100 Years of Vitamins website.

Tip 2: Up your fruit and vegetable intake to help add one or two extra servings of these vitamin-packed foods. Have a cup of frozen blueberries; it will give you about 25 percent of your vitamin C requirement. Eat about a half cup of baby carrots and get 120 percent of your Vitamin A requirement. Try dipping the carrots in low-fat vegetable dip or salsa for added flavor.

Tip 3: Add one or two enriched or fortified foods to your daily diet, like whole grain cereal or oatmeal fortified with vitamin D, soy milk and other soy products fortified with B12, or whole wheat tortillas – like Mission Life Balance – fortified with vitamin A.

Tip 4: Eat “real” unprocessed foods at least 75 percent of the time. You may want to add a multi-vitamin supplement to your diet to help fill in the gaps on days when you don’t eat perfectly.

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